Edit: Success - http://diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/it-works-fully-automated-parach...

I want to try this with my quad and see if and how it works.

Here's my waypoint list:

Basically takeoff to 6m (will actually take off the ground myself as AC v2.7.1 doesn't seem do the takeoff).

Then fly to a close waypoint at 10m alt, then to a further waypoint at 60m alt, loiter for 5 secs, release the chute, loiter for 5 secs, descend to an interim waypoint at 30m, descend further to a closer waypoint at 15m and RTL from there. This is in a fairly open area and the drop will be about 60-70m from the takeoff. May change the waypoint positions if there's a bit of wind.

Does that order & logic look about right?

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I was looking at the parachute idea quite some time ago. The mosfet switch Peter mentions seem the best option for a full shutdown. As it is there is  no "Kill switch" if is goes out of control which in my view for safety should be a must.  I had suggested they open up channel 8 for the arducopter to use this for another servos and then use this for the parachute switch, after all this is a dead channel for arducopter. But so far nothing come of this.

By the way what parachute are you using? I bought a cheap model size para-glider canopy for $17 from HobbyKing Ive yet to get around to get around to fitting.

check out the diy parachute instructional video produced by Experimental Airlines (Youtube) and also demonstrated by the Conservation Drones guys.


I'm using an old 1000ft flare parachute from my old army days. I have the HK paraglider too but while it flew attached to a gondola it was very temperamental and was never a huge success.

I do want to drop the parachute from my quad at this point, not use it as a recovery or emergency 'chute.

My parachute is unmodified, from a used military parachute flare, amongst other things they use them on training days, fairly common to pick them up on the ranges, very well made considering they are single-use. The cords are internally reinforced with wire, presumably to prevent them burning through.

The drops you saw in the video were from 15m (about 50ft) could have gone much higher but it was windy and didn't know how far it would drift.

Looking into the code, it's begining to make more sense, but it will take a long time to get familiar enough with it to make any serious changes. What I want is the ability to preset the servo position manually (not in auto, and unable to in MP). The solution in my mind at the moment is to make a servo drive board, then sensing a high pin from the code could trigger the servo board to perform any sequence you care to program into it. Mainly this will bypass mission planner, and might even avoid needing to compile each ac FW as it comes out...

Yes, the servo position would ideally need to be set (and held) initially in the MP, as currently the servo seems to be commanded into position but not held there.

My release mechanism is very low tech - just a servo and a rubber band holding the chute underneath the quad.

I've asked Randy if he could help to get this working so hopefully we can make some progress.


     Graham pointing out this thread to me.  I also tried to make a servo move but was unable to.  Certainly having to make all do_* commands appear between two waypoints is a bit annoying and makes it harder to test.  Even so, I did manage to make the do-servo command execute but the physical servo didn't move.

     I'll have to look into this more and try and sort it out.


Thanks Randy... I know myself and others are very interested in getting this working.

Thanks for the link Johann,

I've been looking into this, Servo and relay operation is desperately needed on AC code.

Think they are closely related issues! and neither works!

We also need a bit of leeway with the mission options, ie.

Additional to the existing servo commands we need

momentary servo movement and return option, and a way to preset default servo position, external to a mission. ie in MP config.

Additional to existing relay operations we need

momentary energised Relay option, possibly with a period-on option

I'm in the middle of doing this with an external micro, so that I don't have to alter every new FW update

It would be a huge benefit if this was integrated into the FW and Mission Planner so everyone has access to it.

+1, thanks for your efforts.

     I've checked in some changes to get the AP_Camera library working again and also allowed it to be invoked from the channel 7 switch.  This will go out in 2.9 which isn't too far off now.
     The affected parameters:
        CH7_OPT =   9 to enabling triggering of the camera servo (or relay)
        CAM_TRIGG_TYPE = 0 if a servo is attached to the shutter
        CAM_TRIGG_SERVO_OFF = pwm value when servo is in resting position
        CAM_TRIGG_SERVO_ON = pwm value to push the servo shutter
        CAM_DURATION = how long to keep the shutter pushed in 10ths of a second.  So 10 = 1 second, 50 = 5 seconds.
     On the way, i removed some unused variables and overall it saves 4 bytes of RAM.
     All feedback welcome!

Fantastic Randy, thank you, looking forward to this.

Thanks for your efforts Randy, many of us who are not so able with the code much appreciate the developers input, and are all looking forward to making use of this valuable function.

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